Jail employees face new rules on social media

FRONT ROYAL — A committee of the Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren County Regional Jail Authority passed rules Thursday for jail employees to follow in using social media.

One provision passed by the jail authority’s finance and personnel committee bans employees from using the jail’s technology network, Internet connection and computers “unless the employee has the proper authority to access an official social media site for work related purposes.”

The regulations list Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn among the social media sites covered by the regulations.

The stated purpose of the regulations is to “accurately reflect (the) RSW jail image” when employees publish and participate in online conversations.

Douglas Stanley, chairman of the jail authority, said the rules are the product of a time when electronic communications allow anyone with a computer or cell phone to broadcast their thoughts to the rest of the world.

“In this day and age, it’s certainly something you need in place,” Stanley said.

The regulations limit what employees can publish online during their off hours.

The rules ban employees from using the RSW logo unless allowed to do so by the jail superintendent and forbid them from acting as a jail representative unless they have “proper authority to access an official social media site for work-related purposes.”

In writing online about jail related matters, employees are required to issue a disclaimer making clear the posting does not necessarily represent opinions of the jail.

The rules also subject employees to disciplinary action if their postings include ethnic slurs, obscenity “or any type of material not acceptable to the RSW Regional Jail workplace.”

Postings may not create conflict with co-workers, interfere with job performance or contain information deemed confidential or sensitive about the jail or individual employees.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com